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Northampton Campaign Notebook: Drawing Friday to determine ballot order; Narkewicz launches re-election bid; voter confusion in Ward 6

Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz

GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

The city’s new charter calls for a drawing to determine the order of names on the ballot when there is more than one candidate for a position. Under past rules, candidates seeking re-election were listed first, with challengers listed next in alphabetical order.

Friday’s drawing will take place for at-large city council candidates William H. Dwight, Jesse M. Adams and Anthony N. Patillo; the Ward 2 council race between Paul D. Spector and Jason T. Foster; the Ward 6 council race between Marianne L. LaBarge and Yvonne C. Keefe; and the Ward 7 council race between Eugene A. Tacy and Alisa F. Klein.

A drawing will also be held for the School Committee at-large race featuring Blue DuVal, Kari Nykorchuk and Samuel J. Welson; Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School trustee candidates John E. Cotton, Thomas M. Fitzgerald, Michael T. Cahillane, John E. Lind and Dennison J. Wolfe; Forbes Library trustee candidates Russell W. Carrier and Marjorie R. Hess.

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Narkewicz to kick off campaign

Mayor David J. Narkewicz will launch his campaign for a second term Monday at a kickoff event scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. at the World War II Club, 50 Conz St.

Narkewicz faces no challengers this November. The mayor’s term was doubled to four years as part of a new charter approved by voters a year ago, meaning Narkewicz will serve twice as long if re-elected. The rationale behind the longer term, which drew criticism when proposed, is that the mayor needs more time to focus on long-term planning for the city rather than facing re-election every two years.

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Preliminary voting confusion

Some voters during Tuesday’s preliminary election to whittle the field of candidates for the Ward 6 City Council seat mistakenly voted for two candidates, rather than just one allowed by city charter.

When that happened, City Clerk Wendy Mazza said the voting machines rejected the ballots and voters were allowed to cast another ballot.

“No voter was disenfranchised,” Mazza said.

The confusion arose in the days leading up to the election when Michael E. Janik and Yvonne C. Keefe, two candidates challenging incumbent Marianne L. LaBarge, told voters that they could vote for two candidates. Mazza said that information did not come from her office.

In cases where there is only one position available, as is the case for the Ward 6 council seat, voters are only allowed to vote for one candidate in both preliminary and general elections. Voters are allowed to vote for more than one candidate for races in which there are two or more positions to be filled. That would include two at-large positions on both the City Council and School Committee and three positions of the board of trustees for Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School.

LaBarge and Keefe collected the most votes Tuesday and will face each other in November.

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